- Software name: appdown
- Software type: Microsoft Framwork
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The success of the Duke of Wellington in carrying Emancipation was fatal to his Government. Almost to a man the Tories fell from him, and he found no compensation in the adhesion of the Whigs. The latter were glad that their opponents had been induced to settle the question, a result which they had long desired, but had not the power to accomplish. Their gratitude, however, for this great service to the public was not sufficiently warm to induce them to enlist under the banner of the Duke of Wellington, though they were ready to come to his assistance, to protect his Government for a time against the violent assaults of the party whose feelings and prejudices he had so grievously outraged. All parties seem, indeed, to have been exhausted by the violence of the struggle, and there was no desire to attempt anything important in the way of legislation during the remainder of the Session. There was nothing extraordinary in the Budget, and it was accepted without much objection. The subject of distress among the operatives gave rise to a debate which occupied two days, and a motion for inquiry into its causes was rejected. The trade which suffered most at the time was the silk trade. It was stated that, in 1824, there were 17,000 looms employed in Spitalfields; now there were only 9,000. At the former period wages averaged seventeen shillings a week, now the average was reduced to nine shillings. By the manufacturers this depression was ascribed to the relaxation of the prohibitory system, and the admission of foreign silks into the home market. On the other hand, Ministers, and the advocates of Free Trade, ascribed the depression to the increase of production, and the rivalry of the provincial towns of Congleton, Macclesfield, and Manchester. That the general trade had increased was shown by the vast increase in the quantity of raw silk imported, and in the number of spindles employed in the silk manufacture. The Government was firm in its hostility to the prohibitory system, and would not listen to any suggestion for relief, except a reduction in the duties on the importation of raw silk, by which the demand for the manufactured article might be augmented. While these discussions were going on in Parliament the silk-weavers were in a state of violent agitation, and their discontent broke forth in acts of lawlessness and destructive outrage. They were undoubtedly in a very miserable condition. It was ascertained that there were at Huddersfield 13,000 persons, occupied in a fancy trade, whose average earnings did not exceed twopence-halfpenny a day, out of which they had to meet the wear and tear of looms, etc. The artisans ascribed this reduction to the avarice of their employers, and they avenged themselves, as was usual in those times, by combination, strikes, and destruction of property. In Spitalfields bands of weavers entered the workshops and cut up the materials belonging to refractory masters. The webs in thirty or forty looms were sometimes thus destroyed in a single night. The same course was pursued at Macclesfield, Coventry, Nuneaton, and Bedworth, in which towns power-looms had been introduced which enabled one man to do the work of four. The reign of terror extended to Yorkshire, and in several places the masters were compelled to succumb, and to accept a list of prices imposed by the operatives. In this way the distress was greatly aggravated by their ignorance. What they demanded was a restrictive system, which it was impossible to restore. The result obtained was simply a reduction of the duties on raw silk.
and down the corridor, his chant growing louder as he approached
*** Declaration du Sieur de Mzy, 10 Mars, 1664.
* The interest felt by the king in these matters is shownThe greater part of the House, as well as the public out of doors, were captivated with the scheme, which promised thus easily to relieve them of the monster debt; but Sir Grey Cooper was the first to disturb these fairy fancies. He declared that the whole was based on a fallacious statement; that it was doubtful whether the actual surplus was as described; but even were it so, that it was but the surplus of a particular year, and that it was like the proprietor of a hop-ground endeavouring to borrow money on the guarantee of its proceeds in a particularly favourable year. Fox, Burke, and Sheridan followed in the same strain. They argued that, supposing the assumed surplus actually to exist, which they doubted, it would immediately vanish in case of war, and a fresh mass of debt be laid on. Sheridan said, the only mode of paying off a million a year would be to make a loan of a million a year, for the Minister reminded him of the person in the comedy who said, "If you won't lend me the money, how can I pay you?" On the 14th of May he moved a string of fourteen resolutions unfavourable to the report of the Committee, which he said contained facts which could not be negatived; but the House did negative them all without a division, and on the 15th of May passed the Bill. In the Lords it met with some proposals from Earl Stanhope, which were to render the violation of the Act equivalent to an act of bankruptcy, but these were negatived, and the Bill was passed there on the 26th. It was not until 1828 that the fallacy on which the Bill rested was finally exposed by Lord Grenville, who, curiously enough, had been chairman of the Committee which recommended its adoption.